Restaurant owner Pham charged with tax fraud

Wednesday,

Restaurant owner Thomas Pham has been charged with 38 counts of filing false tax returns, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly announced Wednesday.

Pham, 44, of Plymouth, was charged by summons and his first court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 13.

“This case is about fairness for Minnesotans. When someone collects sales tax from customers but does not send it to the state, it creates an unfair advantage over competing businesses who are doing the right thing under the law,” Bauerly said. “We believe that taxpayers should report, pay and receive the right amount: no more, no less. These charges demonstrate the thorough and detailed work of our investigators to ensure fairness in our tax laws.”

 “It is the obligation of every person, whether an employee or a business owner, to pay taxes,” Freeman said. “Taxes are the responsibility of everyone who lives in a free society. The investigators at the revenue department did an excellent job in putting this case together and we will vigorously prosecute Mr. Pham.”

While Pham had owned a prominent restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, the criminal case only involves the sales and use taxes from his Thai food restaurant, Thanh Do in St. Louis Park. According to the complaint, Pham and his Thanh Do, Inc. business under reported monthly taxable sales by $118,138 from November 2013 through December 2016.

Pham was well-known in the Department of Revenue because of a history of not filing tax returns, audit issues and evading collection when this investigation began in July 2016, the complaint states.

In July 2017, Department of Revenue agents executed several search warrants at Pham’s rented home in Plymouth, and recovered several bins of restaurant records. By creating a spread sheet and comparing daily reconciliations for Thanh Do restaurant with the monthly taxes collected, the auditors were able to determine how much Pham was underreporting, according to the complaint.

The total loss to the State of Minnesota, including penalties and interest is $130,858.98, the complaint states.

Criminal complaint (PDF)